A Bronx, N.Y., teen charged with fatally stabbing his 15-year-old classmate in September will be able to spend the holidays with his family.
Abel Cedeno, 18, was released Wednesday on a $250,000 bond. As WABC-TV reports, a judge had lowered Cedeno’s bail from $500,000 on his manslaughter charges in the death of classmate Matthew McCree. Cedeno entered a not guilty plea.
Cedeno’s bond money was largely fundraised. According to the New York Post, in a statement released to the press, Cedeno thanked his benefactors, particularly those in the gay community, who have rallied around the teen after reports surfaced that the teen had endured racist and anti-gay bullying.
“I am grateful to the people who donated to my bond fund,” Cedeno’s statement, which was handed out to the media, read. “Specifically, I thank the many gay men who generously donated.” Cedeno added that his benefactors “make me proud to be gay.”
“I promise you that your faith in me will never be betrayed,” Cedeno added about his bond donors. “You are, in the words of Shakespeare, ‘less than kin but more than kind.’”
Also among Cedeno’s donors is New York state Sen. the Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr., who is a member of the Bronx church the Cedeno family attends. Cedeno also thanked his family for their support, and thanked the guards at New York City’s Rikers Island jail, where he was being held, for their professionalism.
Cedeno’s friends and family claim the teen had been bullied for years about his race and sexuality. In a DNAinfo report from September, the family says that Cedeno had endured extreme bullying and was called a “faggot” and a “spic” by classmates at his school, the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the West Farms section of the Bronx. They say the school was aware of Cedeno’s bullying but did nothing to stop it.
But police say Cedeno never reached out to administrators at the Urban Assembly School about being harassed—and that while Cedeno endured bullying, he didn’t have any prior problems with the two boys he stabbed.
According to police, Cedeno stabbed Matthew and another classmate, Ariane Laboy, after they bullied him during a history class. According to a police spokeman, Ariane and Matthew had been throwing pencils at Cedeno during morning class before Cedeno pulled out a knife he had bought on Amazon.com two weeks earlier and stabbed them both. Ariane survived; Matthew didn’t.
Louna Dennis, Matthew’s mother, was outraged at Cedeno’s release and his family’s lack of remorse for the death of her son.
“I’m pissed the hell off,” Dennis told WABC-TV. “I’m pissed. He gets to go home with his family for Christmas. My son is in a fricking cemetery. Fricking in the dirt. And he gets to go home to his family? I’m pissed the hell off, and at this point, I feel like the system is failing me.”